Speaking digitally (fwd)

Dominik Wujastyk ucgadkw at ucl.ac.uk
Thu Dec 7 11:51:46 UTC 1995


This is very interesting indeed.  As you probably know, I have been
heavily involved in developing standards and software in this area. I
was chair of the Text Encoding Initiative committee on TEI document
headers -- basically I (we) wrote chapter 5 of the TEI _Guidelines for
Electronic Text Encoding and Interchange_ ed. C. M. Sperberg-McQueen and
Lou Burnard (Chicago, Oxford: TEI, 1994.).

The same TEI Guidelines deal extensively with the digital markup of
critical editions: vol.1, chapter 18 "Transcription of Primary Sources",
chapter 19 "Critical Apparatus".  Michael Sperberg-McQueen in particular
has/had many interesting ideas about the digital presentation of
editions, including his famous "Rhine Delta" idea of presenting the
cohering-decohering picture of a text as a map like a complex river
delta, with textual "streams" flowing into each other and separating
again.  With a computer display, one could actually present an edition
in this way, offering the judgement of an editor alongside the
opportunity for a reader to make their own choices.  I know a printed
edition does this too (indeed, that's the very point), but it could be
more obviously and flexibly implemented if done digitally.

Chapter 19 of the TEI Guidelins was quite heavily influenced by the work
that John Lavagnino and I did in developing the package EDMAC, a set of
markup tags and TeX macros for typesetting critical editions (see the
journal _TUGboat_ 11 (1990), pp. 623 ff. for an overview; fuller
treatment in press). Incidentally, EDMAC has been used in the production
of many critical editions in many languages, including some of Leibniz's
writings (work done by Menso Folkerts and colleagues at the Institute
for the History of Science in Munich).

I am trying to load the Leibniz edition you mentioned right now, in
another window, but it is a very slow link, so I can't comment yet.

Thanks a ton for posting the information.  I would hope that *any* work
in this area would at least be informed by the work of the TEI
Guidelines, which are precisely designed to address this problem.  And
since the TEI adopts SGML as its base tag definition system, and HTML is
a subset of SGML, I would think that applying the TEI Guidelines to Web
editions would be rather easy and appropriate.



Dominik Wujastyk,
Wellcome Institute,
183 Euston Road,
London NW1 2BE.

FAX: +44 171 611 8545
email: d.wujastyk at ucl.ac.uk

For my PGP public key etc., see my WWW home page:


More information about the INDOLOGY mailing list